Here We Go Again…

More service cuts to public transit may be coming to Silicon Valley.  The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) will discuss a proposal to further reduce bus and light rail service at its first Board Of Directors’ meeting of 2019 this Thursday at 5:30pm in San Jose.

WHEN: Thursday, January 10 at 5:30pm
WHERE: Auditorium at VTA Headquarters, 3331 N. First Street, San Jose
GETTING THERE: Take VTA Light Rail to the River Oaks station.  VTA’s headquarters is on the west (airport) side of N. First Street, in the back of the Park and Ride lot.

Tips for how to be heard at any VTA Board meeting or workshop can be mastered here.

Our group has obtained details on what the VTA Board Of Directors will discuss at Thursday evening’s meeting. Details are below.

Background

VTA’s service cut proposal can be found on Agenda Item 7.2 in the January 2019 VTA Board Of Directors’ meeting agenda packet.  The goal of the proposal, per VTA, is a $14.7 million operating cost savings.  The proposed plan is a 90% ridership/10% coverage balance – away from the 83% ridership/17% coverage vetted by the public in the “Next Network” plan from two years ago.

Key VTA Services Proposed For Reductions Or Cuts

  • No more overnight service (1am-4am) on the 22 bus line
  • No more 65 bus line from San Jose State to Kooser/Blossom Hill
  • End light rail service on the Almaden Spur (Ohlone-Chynoweth / Almaden), replacing it with bus service running the same frequency and hours as the current light rail spur
  • Eliminating the 122, 182, and 185 express bus lines
  • Eliminating school-oriented routes serving St. Francis High (Mountain View), Fremont High (Sunnyvale), and Santa Teresa High (San Jose).

Below are additional, specific details on bus and light rail service VTA proposes to reduce or eliminate.

The proposed service plan includes 61 reductions in service as compared to the original Next Network plan. All the reductions are to coverage service (to limit ridership impacts). Each change in service is detailed below.

Purple Line (Almaden)
1. Discontinue Purple Line rail service (Almaden spur)
2. Replace Purple Line rail service with a new bus route that will stop at all three stations (Ohlone/Chynoweth, Oakridge, Almaden) at 30-minute frequency, on the same days and generally the same hours as the Purple Line

Blue Line (Alum Rock – Santa Teresa)
3. Shorten to end at Baypointe Station instead of Alum Rock Station; stations east of Baypointe would be served by the Orange Line (Mountain View –Alum Rock)
All Light Rail Lines
4. Change weekend frequency to every 20 minutes on all lines (to provide better connections with BART’s 20-minute weekend train frequency)

Rapid 523 (Berryessa – Lockheed Martin)
5. End Saturday service at Sunnyvale Transit Center instead of Lockheed Martin after 8:00 PM
6. End Sunday service at Sunnyvale Transit Center instead of Lockheed Martin after 7:30 PM

Route 20 (Milpitas BART – Sunnyvale Transit Center)
7. End weekday service at 8:30 PM instead of 10:00 PM

Route 21 (Stanford Shopping Center – Santa Clara Transit Center)
8.End weekday service at 9:30 PM instead of 10:00 PM

Route 22 (Palo Alto – Eastridge)
9. Discontinue overnight service (1:00 AM to 4:00 AM)

Route 27 (Winchester Station – Kaiser San Jose)
10. Start weekday service at 6:00 AM instead of 5:30 AM
111. End weekday service at 9:00 PM instead of 10:00 PM
12. Reduce Saturday frequency to every 40 minutes from every 30 minutes
13. End Saturday service at 8:00 PM instead of 9:00 PM
14. End Sunday service at 7:30 PM instead of 8:00 PM

Route 31 (Evergreen Valley College – Eastridge)
15. Discontinue Sunday service
16. Start Saturday service at 8:30 AM instead of 7:30 AM

Route 40 (Foothill College – Mountain View Transit Center)
17.Start Saturday service at 8:00 AM instead of 7:00 AM

Route 44/47 (Milpitas BART – McCarthy Ranch)
18. Start weekday service at 6:00 AM instead of 5:30 AM
19. End weekday service at 9:00 PM instead of 10:00 PM
20. Reduce Saturday frequency to every 40 minutes from 30
21. Reduce Sunday frequency to every 60 minutes from 30
22. Start Saturday service at 8:00 AM instead of 7:00 AM
23. End Saturday service at 8:00 PM instead of 9:00 PM
24. End Sunday service at 7:00 PM instead of 8:00 PM

Route 52 (Foothill College – Mountain View Transit Center)
25. End weekday service at 9:00 PM instead of 10:00 PM

Route 53 (Sunnyvale Transit Center – Santa Clara Transit Center)
26. Start weekday service at 6:30 AM instead of 5:30 AM
27. Discontinue Saturday service
28. Eliminate deviation to Stevens Creek (stay on Homestead)

Route 56 (Lockheed Martin – Tamien Station)
29. Eliminate deviation to downtown Sunnyvale (stay on Fair Oaks)
30. Start Saturday service at 7:00 AM instead of 6:30 AM
31. Start Sunday service at 8:00 AM instead of 7:30 AM

Route 57 (Old Ironsides Station – West Valley College)
32. End weekday service at 11:00 PM instead of 12:00 midnight

Route 59 (Valley Fair – Baypointe Station)
33. Start weekday service at 6:00 AM instead of 5:30 AM
34. Reduce Saturday frequency to every 60 minutes from 30
35. Start Saturday service at 8:00 AM instead of 7:00 AM
36. End Saturday service at 8:00 PM instead of 10:00 PM
37. Start Sunday service at 8:00 AM instead of 7:30 AM

Route 61 (Sierra & Piedmont – Good Samaritan Hospital)
38. End weekday service at 11:00 PM instead of 12:00 midnight
39. End Saturday service at 10:00 PM instead of 11:00 PM

Route 63 (San Jose State – Kooser & Blossom Hill)
40. End weekday service at 9:00 PM instead of 10:00 PM

Route 65 (San Jose State – Kooser & Blossom Hill)
41. Discontinue route

Route 71 (Milpitas BART – Capitol Station)
42. Start Saturday service at 7:00 AM instead of 6:30 AM

Route 72 (Downtown San Jose – Senter & Monterey via McLaughlin)
43. Reduce weekday frequency to every 30 minutes from every 20 between 8:00 PM and 9:00 PM
44. Reduce Saturday frequency to every 30 minutes from every 20 between 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM
45. Reduce Sunday frequency to every 60 minutes from every 30 between 8:00 PM and 9:00 PM

Route 73 (Downtown San Jose – Senter & Monterey via Senter)
46. Reduce weekday frequency to every 30 minutes from every 20 between 8:00 PM and 9:00 PM
47.Reduce Saturday frequency to every 30 minutes from every 20 between 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM

Route 77 (Milpitas BART – Eastridge)
48. End weekday service at 11:00 PM instead of 12:00 midnight
49. End Saturday service at 11:00 PM instead of 12:00 midnight
50. End Sunday service at 10:00 PM instead of 11:00 PM

Route 83 (Ohlone/Chynoweth Station – Almaden & McKean)
51. Discontinue route

Express 101 (Camden & Highway 85 – Stanford Research Park)
52.Discontinue route

Express 102 (South San Jose – Stanford Research Park)
53. Eliminate 2 of 7 daily trips in each direction

Express 103 (Eastridge – Stanford Research Park)
54. Eliminate 1 of 4 daily trips in each direction

Express 121 (South County – Lockheed Martin)
55. Eliminate 3 of 9 daily trips in each direction

Express 122 (South San Jose – Lockheed Martin)
56. Discontinue route

Express 168 (South County – San Jose Diridon Station)
57. Eliminate 2 of 7 daily trips in each direction

Express 182 (Palo Alto – IBM/Bailey Ave)
58. Discontinue route

Express 185 (South County – Mountain View)
59. Discontinue route

Route 251 (St. Francis High School – Mountain View Transit Center)
60. Discontinue school-oriented route

Route 255 (Fremont High School – Lawrence & Tasman)
61. Discontinue school-oriented route
(regular Route 55 trips would remain)

Route 266 (Santa Teresa High School – Bernal & Via Serena)
62. Discontinue school-oriented route

Proposed Service Improvements

Since the proposed plan aims to achieve a 90/10 ridership/coverage balance as compared to the original Next Network plan’s 83/17 balance, the proposal also includes additional investments in the Frequent Network, VTA’s ridership-oriented network of frequent routes that are designed for serving and attracting high ridership. The proposed service plan includes 6 improvements to routes in the Frequent Network as compared to the original Next Network plan. Each improvement is detailed below.

Rapid 500 (Berryessa BART – Diridon Station)
1. Improve weekday frequency to every 7.5 minutes all day (average) from every 10-15 minutes

Route 23 (De Anza College – Alum Rock Station)
2. Improve weekday and weekend service frequency between 7:00 PM and 11:00 PM

Route 26 (West Valley College – Eastridge)
3. Improve weekday service frequency between Curtner Station and Westgate to every 15 minutes from 30, extending the all-day Frequent segment of the route west beyond Curtner Station.
4. Improve weekend service frequency between Curtner Station and Westgate to every 20 minutes from every 30

Route 68 (San Jose Diridon Station – Gilroy Transit Center)
5. Improve weekday midday service frequency between Santa Teresa Station and Gilroy to every 15 minutes from 30, which would make the entire route from San Jose to Gilroy frequent all day

Rapid 522 (Palo Alto – Eastridge)
6. Improve early morning and evening frequency to every 15 minutes from every 20, daily

Additional Analysis of VTA’s Proposal

Dwayne Williams of San Jose provided some additional analysis of VTA’s proposal on our email list recently.

By my calculation, Next Network would have reduced VTA’s PM peak bus deployment from (estimated) 315 to 290. If further service cuts are needed (as I assume) based on the Next Network, then the proposed 90/10 would probably be implemented removing another 15-20 peak vehicles from PM service.

Since El Camino [Real] BRT is being postponed, I would assume the frequency would match that of Line 22. Remember, April, 2017, Line 22 experienced a frequency change from 12 minute to 15 minute frequencies, while Line 522 experienced 15 minute to 12 minute frequencies. From looking at the current day (2.16.18 SSTPO Meeting), Line 22 still performs over Line 522. As a result, Line 22 has experienced a slight decrease in ridership, as the same as it’s overlay 522.

The Next Network only focused on ‘core’ routes, and that could be the possible direction? Without connecting local routes to connect with the core, it is a spell for disaster.

Some Talking Points

Jim Stallman of Saratoga provided these talking points as well:

  1. VTA will claim that they are maintaining the same number of service hours with the 90/10 coverage/ridership even though they are wanting to lay off or force into early retirement a sizable number of drivers. Trickery here?
  2. VTA is ripping out service to all of the affluent portions of the county which means that the disadvantaged will no longer have access to the domestic and retail jobs in those areas or their respective Community Colleges.  Loss of transit will also bring into question why taxpayers are not being provided the transit they pay for.
  3. Implementing #2 is likely a diabolically criminal attempt to skirt the housing zoning rule just adopted by MTC.  Affluent suburbs of the county can now claim that they have no transit lines so they aren’t subject to higher density involuntary zoning changes.

Also, VTA General Manager and CEO Nuria L. Fernandez received a 3% pay increase, in addition to her more than $388,000 salary and benefits, at the December 2018 VTA Board Of Directors’ meeting.  This despite VTA’s wild spending habits…

If VTA has money for this, clearly they have money for other, more needed public transit service.

What Can I Do To Help Stop This Proposal?

Contact the VTA Board Of Directors’ member who represents YOU today. Let them know how their proposal affects YOU. Let them know they need to eliminate waste from their budget first, before further reducing public transit service.

Proposal Timeline

According to VTA, authority staff will conduct public outreach and collect public input from now until the end of February.  Based on public input, VTA staff will present a revised plan to committees in April.  Based on the input from the committees, the VTA Board Of Directors will vote on the final plan in May.  The goal of this ensures the changes take effect on the first day of BART service into Milpitas and Berryessa this Fall.

What’s Related To This Story?

Conclusion

More talking points for you to use will follow.  In addition, any information on VTA public meetings on this proposal will be posted here, as soon as information is available.

Remember: what goes on Silicon Valley is what its citizens at large allow.  It only changes when we change it for the better TOGETHER.

Eugene Bradley
Founder, Silicon Valley Transit Users

  2 comments for “Here We Go Again…

  1. P
    January 10, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    Nuria got close to a 10% raise. They voted for a 3% during the meeting but after wards they gave her a 9.6% raise

    • Eugene B
      January 10, 2019 at 10:34 pm

      P:
      Please cite the source for Nuria’s additional 6.6% raise in pay and benefits.

      Eugene Bradley
      Founder, Silicon Valley Transit Users

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